Sunday, 22 April 2018

spaceship earth

Sponsored by the partnership of a senator and environmental activist in response to a devastating oil spill in Santa Barbara, California, Earth Day was first observed in 1970 on this date. The movement has grown exponentially since and in 1990 spread internationally, set aside by nearly two hundred countries as time to focus on ecological challenges and solutions.
Despite growing support and awareness of the importance of our being better stewards of the environment and that Nature is not ours to dominate, the movement is facing regressive forces, not the least being narratives that global-warming is a myth. Originally celebrated about a month earlier on the Spring Equinox, the 22 April date was chosen so to make the day truly universal and not tied to a particular hemisphere and as the April date would fall within most colleges’ Spring Breaks and allow the chance for students to organize rallies. Unfortunately, as like contemporary conspiracy theorists—the date chosen was a bit inauspicious as 22 April 1870 was the birthday of Vladimir Lenin (unbeknownst to the event’s organisers, especially considering the need to translate it from the Old Style calendar to the Gregorian) and some harboured suspicions in the US particularly at the time (and through to this day) that that signaled a Communist inculcation and was reminiscent of the coerced “voluntary” Saturday (Subbotnik) spent in community service, to include the sorting and recycling of trash. Fortunately, Earth Day’s message has transcended those arguing that we’re separate and outside of the natural world.

consent of the governed

Intrigued as we were by the characterisation of a former CIA director of Trump’s regime as a kakistocracy, JF Ptak did some further spelunking into forms of government that fail the governed beyond khakistocracy. There’s a link to a quite exhaustive list at the source but just as a sample, some of our favourites, new to us, were: an adhocracy—a government whose deliberations are impromptu and without planning or bureaucracy, a mediocracy—rule by the average, the mediocre, and a ptochcracy—a government constituted of the solicitous poor

Saturday, 21 April 2018

zwischenstopp: neustädtles

One of my new low-stakes but hopefully rewarding projects is to document all the scenic but not at first blush distinct places that I pass through when going from home to work on what’s been several years of a long weekly commute. I’d like to stop for a moment in each place with one of the first villages that I go through to being one of a population of about two hundred called Neustädtles (little new town).
Documented for the first time in the 1420s when the village was sold to the Knights of Tann, the territory on the mountainous border of Bavaria and Thüringen exchanged hands several times until finally coming under the ownership of Julius von Soden, count of Ansbach (the previous owner a casualty of the French Revolution).
Charged with managing the surrounding forest he established the manor with several apartments and offices en suite to issue fishing and hunting permits in the early eighteenth century. Though broader events informed the village’s allegiances in the following centuries, its character is essentially unchanged.  Stay tuned to see where we’ll pause next time.


The announcement that Kim Jong-un will immediately cease nuclear and ballistics tests and dismantle at least one testing range (because North Korea is confident that it has perfected its tactical capabilities) is of course welcome news that we’ll even tolerate the gloating and the smug smog of trumpster fires taking credit for it in exchange for what looks to be at least one less thing to agonise about in this dystopian world.
Perhaps going a notch counter-clockwise with the whole countdown to Doomsday.  One cannot call it progress, however, when a crisis escalated by one’s own stubborn, sabre-rattling remedied itself without and in spite of the other party, restoring the uneasy status quo after much posteuring. North Korea retains its arsenal, whose size one can only guess and whose disarmament was the stated goal of the US, but pledges not to proliferate its nuclear technologies to others and the people of the country will possibly benefit and afforded the chance to prosper with less resources diverted to maintain the testing-programme seem like positive developments.

Friday, 20 April 2018

high crimes and misdemeanors